This criteria is met if applicant has performed and will perform as a lead participant in events which have a distinguished reputation.
This law can be broken down into (2) main parts.
It’s important to consider the following information for events in which they were a ‘lead’ or ’star’.
This tangible information matches up with the actual law in the following way.
This category proves match-up (1), applicant has performed and will perform in events. This category also goes to the overall criteria of “being at the top of your field”.
For In terms of match-up (1), USCIS is looking to see that you have events in the past, and planned events in the future.
In terms of “being at the top of your field”, USCIS is looking for people who have a long steady incline of success, and are applying while at the very top. (Preferably, you would have several events, steadily getting more and more “distinguished”, with the most recent being in the past six months.)
Put the dates of the events in the application.
Being in a in a major film is great! However, if that show was 10 years ago and you haven’t done anything since, problems will arise.
This category proves match-up (1A), applicant has performed in events, and (2), the events have a distinguished reputation.
Distinguished Reputation is a phrase that USCIS has invented, and doesn't give an explanation of the meaning. It’s very unclear, and because it is applied to different categories for different purposes, which can makes it confusing. USCIS will consider events that have gotten a lot of press and/ or made a lot of money to have “distinguished reputations”
Proving that an event has a lot of press is easy in terms of an O1B visa application. We use Lexis Nexis Media searches, but there are many other search engines that one could use. Once you pull up all the media on the organization, you want to focus on “major media”. Newspapers > Blogs, the higher the circulation the better. Occasionally the profits of an event will also be show up.
The fashion show you were involved in as a model coach was reviewed in The New York Times.
This category proves match-up (1B), applicants has been in an event as a lead.
In USCIS’s mind, the farther along in your career you are, the more “major” roles you play. In acting, this is easy, who has the most lines, etc… When it comes to non-acting, it can be tricky
It’s helpful to look at a similar category in O-1A Visas, which says “critical capacity” instead of “star” or “lead”. While star and lead are very specific terms that are hard to expand, critical capacity applies to a lot of job fields. USCIS understand that “lead” and “star” are ridiculous, criteria, and they do accept critical capacity for both O-1A and O-1B. A good way to test for critical capacity is to think- if your job title/ role was eliminated, would the project still work? Another way would be- are there people in the project who do the same thing as you, but aren’t as senior? So what USCIS is ultimately looking for, that you have “risen to the top”.
Sometimes a title itself show that a person is the lead. Other times, you have to dig a bit further.
It’s helpful to look at how many people are in the production. If it’s a big production, then there are going to be main and minor players. However, if it’s a small production, it’s possible everyone is a main player.
Any time that someone has your job, but is less senior, that’s a great thing to show USCIS.
If you are in the press for a project, then you are also likely a lead player. Think not just newspaper articles, but flyers, pamphlets, and press releases.
Physical evidence can also help. A picture of you front and center on a stage would be of great help.
Examples Using the tests we outlined above, let’s go through some examples.
If your job title/ role was eliminated, would it work?
Othello (in Othello) is a lead.
Nun #3 (in Othello) is not a lead.
Singer (in Band) is a lead.
Singer (# 124 in a large marching band) is not a lead.
Are there people in the project who do the same thing as you, but aren’t as senior?
Trumpet Player (1st chair) is a lead.
Trumpet Player (4th chair) is not a lead.
This category proves match-up (3), applicant has performed and will perform as a lead participant for organizations which have a distinguished reputation.
One of the best things to use with Organization proving, is guilty by association. With this you show other events put on by the same organization, which also match the criteria.
Guilty by association reference would be saying that your event was at the same skating rink they used for the Olympics.
This criteria is a level 3 difficulty. Only about half of applicants meet this criteria.
Hardest part is proving not just that you were in an event, but that you were an actual “lead”.
Event criteria is tied closely to organization criteria